Friday, September 19, 2008

Comprehensive Safe Sex Education and No Second Guessing Sex

This post is in regard to the CDC's latest reporting of HIV infection in America:

In America the black male/female community is hit hardest, with young gay black men (13-29) in the eye of the hurricane. White gay/bisexual men account for half of all gay related HIV infection rate but it's not amongst the young guys, it's men in their 30's and 40's.

It shows 53 percent of the estimated 56,000 cases of new HIV infection in 2006 were among gay and bisexual men, and 46 percent of the infections occurred among blacks. Within the gay and bisexual group, young black men (13 to 29 years old ) were roughly twice as likely to get infected as young white and young Hispanic men. And among women, black women were almost 15 times more likely to get HIV than white women and almost four times more likely than Hispanic women.


"First, the number of new HIV infections among young black [gay and bisexual men] is alarming and shows the need to reach each new generation with prevention early in their lives. Second, the heavy impact of HIV infection in white [gay and bisexual men] in older age groups demonstrates the need for ongoing efforts to keep gay and bisexual men HIV-free over the course of their lifetime. A third finding: compared to women of all races, black women bear the heaviest burden of HIV," Fenton said.

The higher rate of new HIV infections among young gay black men and black women comes as no surprise to Phill Wilson, the CEO and founder of Black AIDS Institute, a think-tank based in Los Angeles, California. "Basically, it affirms what we have known for a long time and what we have been telling the CDC for a very long time," Wilson said."AIDS in America continues to be a black disease as manifested by the numbers," Wilson said. "We have an epidemic that is 40 percent worse than we thought, and African-Americans are grossly disproportionately impacted. Particularly black women and young black gay men."

The CDC study didn't examine the specific factors that account for the heavy burden of HIV among young black gay men, but the CDC has theories.

"Other data suggest a range of possible factors," said Richard Wolitski, acting director, Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention at CDC.

"They include stigma, lack of access to effective HIV prevention services and underestimation of personal risk. In addition, many younger men have not personally experienced the severity of the early AIDS epidemic."

Wolitski said differences in the frequency of high-risk sexual behavior and substance use do not account for this disparity.

White gay and bisexual men account for close to half, or 46 percent, of HIV incidence among gay and bisexual men, but the majority of new infections occurred in men in their 30s, followed by men in the 40s, the CDC found.

"A range of factors likely contribute to continued transmission in these age groups," said Wolitski, noting the marked difference in age at the time of infection in the different racial groups. "They include the difficulty of consistently maintaining safer behaviors for many years or even decades, as well as homophobia, substance abuse and higher HIV prevalence within this group"

So, there it is: For minority populations it's stigma, lack of effective HIV prevention services and underestimating personal risk and for 30's/40's Whites, it's difficulty maintaining safe sex over years or decades, homophobia, substance abuse and higher HIV rates within the demographic.

In addressing the youth, comprehensive safe sex education and sexual communication is a dire necessity. Did you hear that Mrs. Sarah Palin, Mr. McCain and the Red wallet-sitters, who care more about their stash than the rest of the world
? Believe me, Jesus would want to stop an epidemic, especially if it were affecting young people.

If 13 year olds are becoming infected then obviously 13 year olds are having sex. We need to talk about sex as openly and honestly as possible. This isn't going to encourage people to have sex, it will protect them from the consequences of sex. Comprehensive safe sex education can absolutely include the idea of teaching and encouraging young people to wait until they feel they are ready, to keep themselves from succumbing to peer pressure, to teach them that having sex is their decision, but they must know the risks and consequences associated with sex so they do not enter the sexual world totally blind. Safe Sex education and communication needs to happen now.

Addressing the adults:
We've all heard it before, but, okay, I'll say it again. The burden and hope is on all of us! This is our lives, men! Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Young, Old, Top, Bottom, Bisexual, Married, The Just Curious and The Just Something I Tried in College- this is all of our problem and our responsibility. Wake up men!

Why are we allowing this to happen? Even if we understand and know the pleasures of not wearing condoms why aren't we going the extra length to protect our partners and our community? Why have we, the older and more knowledgeable, let slide the idea of protecting one another? Why aren't we celebrating safe sex and celebrating protection of one another? We're all brothers here and yes I know that sounds cliched and roll-of-the-eye Kumbayah but it's true.

Trust me, I've been around the block a few ton of times. Make no mistake. I am no man, glowing in gold, who has never slipped up or made a mistake or felt the sheer weight of in-the-moment sexual gravity- I have, I've been there. Oh god, I've been there! But after a scare or two, the nervous/anxious 3 to 6 month visits to the testing clinic and all the stories of all my older friend's dead friends and lovers - I made a decision to have, what I call, No Second Guessing sex- and what this means is that with every sexual circumstance I involve myself in I do everything to protect myself and my partner, so therefore, when all is said and done, I am not left second guessing myself or my actions. I communicate and I communicate with my partner. This is who I am. This is what I enjoy doing. Let's turn the lights ON!

Having No Second Guessing Sex goes so far above and beyond the "it's annoying to wear a condom- I can't perform if I'm wearing a condom" and elevates safe sex to an unbelievable degree. Imagine how good you'll feel, even after cumming, when you can say to yourself "That sex was so good because I know I've done everything in my power to be as safe and responsible as possible. And even if something does happen, even if there was some kind of fluke, at least I know I've tried EVERYTHING in my power to make the right choice and be as responsible for myself and my partner." Even if you had a horrible experience and you say to yourself, "Oh man, dude... that was a terrible lay," you can still say "Hey, at least he and I were safe. At least I don't have to second guess myself."

Develop, practice and enjoy No Second Guessing Sex because that, ladies and gentlemen, tops and bottoms, is the best, most absolute, most blissful sex there is.


"Dr." Jeff said...

I'm really glad you're such a strong advocate for HIV prevention and protection. Great message we all need to repeat.

Your sentiment also rings true if you replace the words "unsafe sex" and "HIV" with "smoking" and "Cancer".

Stop Smoking~!

Knucklecrack said...

ugh. Touche, Dr. Jeff! Too true. In fact, I read somewhere that gay men are like, 5x more likely to die of smoking than they are to die of HIV/AIDS and here I am stomping all over unsafe sex when I could be stomping out my own cigs -

but truth be told..i'm not a smoker-smoker I'm a have a drink, have a smoke-smoker, but're right.

Anonymous said...

So sad.

Mike said...

I'm old enough to remember condomless sex before the on set of AIDS/HIV pandemic in the gay male community.

For men in the 40+ brackets, safe sex messages are about as effective as dieting messages for fat people. How many people have been able to do anything right for 25+ years?

Education is the right way to go, but for a lot of people, they do the wrong thing anyway, even when they know what they should be doing. That's the same reason many gay doctors died of AIDS just like everyone else who did. There was the old story about a guy whose doctor diagnosed him with AIDS, and then he later met his doctor at the baths that same evening. Think about that one a bit...both men should have known better.

the zak said...

The correct term is always... safer
There's never zero risk.

People can't even get the word right, likewise people haven't practiced so called safer sex diligently or we'd see the news headlines... A.I.D.S. epidemic peaks. Spread of H.I.V. now going down.

Nature gives us the biological imperative. A powerful force, nature doesn't care what happens to the individual. There may be some people with genetic combinations that give them greater caution for risky things. For most going ahead with sexual opportunities is how species are programmed by nature.

See also
Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition by Ed Wilson

Click on...
  Zoom In
after clicking on...

the zak said...

Even couples don't agree on what actually are the so called safer sex practices, especially when one of them finds another sexual opportunity with somebody else.

For example, having more sex partners isn't a so called safer sex practice. But people believe if they use so called safer sex practices they can have more sex partners.

Anonymous said...

@ "dr" jeff: As a former smoker, the analogy between that activity and unsafe sex is particularly apt and, frankly, the reason I stopped smoking. If I can engage ONLY in safer sex practices for the past 25 years -- and I have -- and if I'm such a staunch anti-barebacker, it was more than a tad hypocritical for me to be dragging on a cigarette. 3 months smoke-free!

@ mike: I was not aware that HIV/AIDS transmission was location-specific and not behaviour-specific. Pardon the sarcasm, but the baths are not the problem, our resistance to vociferously rejecting unsafe sex anywhere is. I've never, ever engaged in unsafe sex at the baths. How is it that I "should know better"?

And, Eric, babe, you knocked it out of the park again. Rockstar.

Mike said...

I don't go to the baths to practice safer sex for the same reason that I don't go to Dunkin' Donuts to lose weight.

Anonymous said...

So don't go, then.

And while you're not going, kindly cram your value judgments concerning those of us who ARE capable of going to Dunkin' Donuts every day of the week and having a nice cup of coffee without the unhealthy snacks that you, apparently, lack the willpower to resist.

YOU should know better.